Any kitchen antiques at home? They could be worth some bread!

Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks at kitchen-related antiques...

By Henry Widdas, Communities Content Page Manager
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 3:45 pm

It was 105 years ago this week when your morning toast might have been in short supply. With the American wheat we relied upon disrupted during the First World War, this staple food was in danger of running out, so rationing was introduced on February 1, 1917.

I love my bread, and I know I’m not alone. One of Britain’s favourite foods, 99% of households buy bread, to the tune of nearly 12 million loaves every day.

Bread boards, mixing bowls, rolling pins, cooking tins and bread bins: items relating to bread making, storage and consumption are some of the most attractive pieces of ‘kitchenalia’ (kitchen-related antique and vintage items).

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This mixing bowl and spoon is five pounds and fifty pence

Arm yourself with this attractive mixing bowl and spoon (£5.50) and a cookbook from the redoubtable Delia Smith (we always have a decent choice, priced around £5), and you’ll be ready to mix things up in the kitchen.

Hardy workhorses of the kitchen, we often take bowls for granted. A good antique or vintage bowl can last for generations, and be very pleasing to use, whether for cooking, tableware, a useful pot for bits and bobs, fruit bowl, or as a planter.

Ceramic bowls offer the collector, and cook, the greatest range of choices, such as yellowware, first produced in Derbyshire in the late 1700s. As wide 18 inches across, these were often pressed into moulds, producing the characteristic vertical or horizontal ridges, basketweaves, and other designs that, along with thick rims and flat bottoms, made them easier to grip and use.

By the 1830s, beautiful yellowware pieces were being made in the United States using fine yellow clay found along the banks of rivers of New York. Use the ‘tap test’ to determine whether a piece of yellowware is English or American. If it rings clearly, it’s probably English; if you hear a dull thud, it was most likely made in the United States.

Vintage yellowware bowls can still be picked up for a few pounds. Prices rise significantly depending on size, age, and condition. The most famous example of yellowware is by TG Green, made in Derbyshire.

Other classic bowls include the attractive blue and white stripes of Cornishware, and Staffordshire’s Mason Cash bowls, which come in an attractive range of patterns and colours (collectors: avoid later Portuguese-made examples).